Sunday, March 31, 2013

End of March Roundup

Last week I quilted this tumbler lap quilt -

It started as a fat quarter pack and was cut using the GO!. I quilted an all over meander (it seems to be a much maligned quilting pattern, but sometimes it is the perfect design). I had pieced the quilt top last summer, and it is nice to have it finished.

This is my Art Quilt of the Month for March -

I used some of my first home spun wool, and couched it down to a piece of rust dyed fabric. I quilted feathers on it since I have been working on a FMQ feathers tutorial this month. The little quilt is 6"x8".

I have been doing spinning -

Silk and Merino all the way from Australia.
Thanks Joan!

These skeins are drying after being washed -

The bottles (for weight) help set the twist while they dry.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Finally Finished

This piece of Hardanger embroidery was on the go for about 7 years, and I am so pleased to say that it is finished!

It was put away for long periods of time, but this time I was determined to get it finished.

It is 18" x 29", on 22 count Hardanger fabric.

Since I finished one project, I started another one. Knitting with my hand spun wool.

We had another snow storm today (I thought I was done with shovelling, luckily this time I had help!).

The grey partridges had to dig deep for seeds.

These four were huddled together.

The storm cleared up in the evening and left great snow drifts.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Celebrating International Quilting Day

Today is International Quilting Day, and I celebrating by making my March blocks for a block of the month that I am doing with my online quilt group.

Here are all the blocks so far (we started this BOM in January, with one pieced and one appliqué block a month) -

The pattern is 'Pieces of Time' from Lori Smith. I am using Laundry Basket Quilts fabrics (Dancing in the Rain).

I have plans to make a whole cloth quilt, and before I order some thread, I wanted to compare some different weights of threads that I had to choose from.

I free motion quilted with 100Wt (InvisaFil), 60Wt (The Bottom Line) and 50Wt (Aurifil), using wool batting and plain cotton, like the quilt I am planning. Normally I like the look of 100Wt thread, but because the quilt will be a bed quilt, I am planning on using 60Wt thread. I was surprised that they all looked fine, and that the back tracking wasn't too visible.

I had to include a picture from our little town, we are still waiting for the snow to melt here.

Happy Quilting Day and thanks for stopping by!!

Friday, March 15, 2013

First Attempts at Spinning

Here are my first few attempts at spinning.

The samples get better every time. It took awhile to get coordinated to treadle, draft the fibres and feed the yarn on to the bobbin! Now that I have the hang of it I am trying to make finer, more even yarn. I haven't made enough to make anything with, only samples so far.

The blue skein is Fractal Spinning (from the Craftsy class - Spinning Dyed Fibers). The fibre is super wash Bluefaced Leicester wool from the Spinning Six Colour pack from SweetGeorgia Yarns. I forgot to take a before picture - this is the Stella colour way.

Fractal spinning involves dividing a hand painted fibre in to halves, spinning one half as is and dividing the other half in to narrower sections and spinning it. This results in one bobbin with long lengths of the colours (the bobbin on the right) and the other bobbin with short bursts of the colours (the bobbin on the left).

Then they are plied together (it is about 1oz of wool, and about worsted weight - hard to tell because of the thick and thin sections).

This is the sample I knitted up. You can see how the stripes change over the piece.

I mentioned yesterday that Heather from Ottawa Valley Fibre sent me a bundle of fibres to play with, this is it - there are all kinds! Thanks again Heather!

The only one I have tried is this fun pencil roving, Northern Lights by Louet.

I divided it in half and spun it to two bobbins, as fine as I could.

Plied it. The colours are so pretty.

It ended up to be a DK yarn (14 WPI) when I washed it, so a bit thinner and more even than the last one. I think there will be enough to knit a neck warmer.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day! 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Crafting History

March is National Craft Month - maybe it is only in the US, but I am going with it! I thought I would share some of my addictions crafting history.

I was lucky enough to grow up in a house where people did things and made things. My Mother is an incredibly talented seamstress, she sewed all the time (she still does), she made most of our clothes growing up, plus she did crochet, knitting, needlepoint, weaving, macrame..., my Father fixed things (still does) and now also does the most amazing cross stitch, and needlepoint, this winter he tried rug hooking - for the first and only time he tells me, my oldest brother made beaded jewelry when we were young, my sister sews, she makes beautiful quilts....... How could anyone growing up in a house like that not be inspired to create!

My philosophy has always been "If someone else can do it, I can at least try".

I started young, making things for my dolls with scraps of fabric.

When I was in school in England (my Father was in the Air Force and we moved a lot), I was taught to crochet (the large granny square) by a school friend. I was then given a ball of red yarn and I crocheted my Barbie every article of clothing imaginable with that red yarn. We were also taught embroidery at school.

I still love embroidery, and have tried all kinds over the years. The crazy quilting was influenced by my Grandmother's crazy quilting.

I tat, plus I have made dolls and stuffed animals.

I knit - some practical,

some not so practical (one year I wanted to learn to follow knitting charts).

 I've done leather and bead work.

I did stained glass - I sold and taught it for years, I would love to get back into that, but it needs a dedicated space (it's messy).

I tried some wood working (my son's headboard).

I dabbled in pottery.

And of course I quilt! I have made mountains and buckets of quilts! These are just some that aren't on beds or walls.

This week is my 47th birthday and I thought it would be great to try a new craft!

 I got a spinning wheel for my birthday!!! It is an Ashford Kiwi 2.

It is so much fun learning something new! There is a whole new language - words like 'niddy noddy', 'lazy kate', and 'mother-of-all' are used in spinning, plus the challenge and reward of improving is so wonderful.

I bought the spinning wheel from Ottawa Fibre on Ebay, Heather, the owner, is terrific! She has  fabulous ratings on Ebay and Etsy, and I know why - when Ebay made a mistake, Heather very kindly sent me a generous bundle of fibre to spin. Thanks Heather! I'll have pictures soon.

I have added a linky if you would like to share how you are celebrating National Craft Month, or if you  want to share your crafting history (remember to link the specific post, not just your blog).

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Week in Review

This past week I free motion quilted a quilt for a friend.

It is beautiful, and so well made. It is a queen size quilt. The batting is Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 cotton/polyester, which is really nice to quilt on a DSM. I started by quilting in the ditch, with a walking foot, on both sides of the small border.

She let me quilt it however I wanted to! So I chose hooked feathers for the border, I find them to be more "casual" feathers than traditional feathers, and perfect for large borders (this was about an 8" border). 

Plus allover swirls and dragonflies for the body of the quilt.

The dragonflies were inspired by this fabric. Thanks for letting me quilt it J!

I also spent a few hours last week shovelling, hopefully that will be it for this winter.

Inside it looks more like spring.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Keeping Busy

Last week I dyed some more thread - this one started out as white #10 Opera crochet cotton.

Here's How -

I dye thread by tying it into a skein, and soaking it in a solution of water with soda ash and salt (about 2L or 1/2 gallon water with 1/2 cup each soda ash and salt), for about one hour. I then place the wet skein on an old plastic lid (something flat with sides), it is quite damp, but not so much that the liquid is going everywhere (other wise the colours will all get mixed, you can always add more solution if the colours aren't mixing). I use the dye powder straight from container and sprinkle it on the thread, just a bit, and then "mush" it around with my fingers to mix the colours (safety first - I wear a dust mask and gloves). These are proMX dyes for cotton.
I  loosely cover the thread with plastic wrap and leave the lid in a warm spot for 24 hours (I use a heated seed starting mat), I try to make sure that all the plastic wrap is within the lid so that the dye doesn't wick out (this picture was taken before that step). After 24 hours I just rinse and wash it following the dye instructions. When the skein is clean, but damp, find the centre and "snap" the skein around your two hands, to get the skein to go back into shape and straighten all the threads. Hang to dry.

The inspiration for this colour way was a picture from a Telus calendar.

I dyed the thread because I wanted to try some free form crochet - a friend has a great tutorial on her new blog. It was lots of fun to make! I followed the instructions for the first few swirls and then just started trying out different stitch combinations and increases - it was interesting to see how it grew.

It's just tiny.
Thanks for the tutorial Susan!

This weekend I made this month's Ostrich BOM blocks. "Triangles" was the keyword this time - so I chose a star block and a triangle filler piece (cut using a Tri-Recs ruler).

I have also been doing some free motion quilting - I am working on a little project.

Last month I won a $100 gift certificate from Fat Quarter Shop, through the SewCalGal 2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge. I ordered some French General fabric to go with some I have, and also a large piece of 108" wide, plain Moda cotton, to make a whole cloth quilt. Thanks SewCalGal and Fat Quarter Shop!

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!
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